Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The "Mind" of Our Spirit

Dear Friends,
What happens when our mind goes as we get old? Although the mind is our physical part that computes information and relays it to our spirits, “knowing” God is not, in the end, a thing of the physical mind. Understanding this has been a comfort to me. 
For years, I’ve been concerned about getting old and losing my mind! I’m sure you know the little rhyme that says: 

My glasses come in handy.
My hearing aid is fine.
My false teeth are juts dandy, 
But I sure do miss my mind!

Seriously, though, I have known people of faith whose minds have disintegrated. If I know God in my knowings and the knowing part of me becomes confused, what will happen then? David McKenna, in his book Whispers of His Grace, gives a personal illustration that has wonderfully released and relieved me. He has helped me realize that even though we may lose our sensibilities, our spirit goes right on knowing even though perhaps we aren’t aware of it. What a comfort that is! For the knowings I’m talking about are deeper than our physical mind, which will disintegrate. 
My wife, Janet, and I have just returned from the funeral of her only brother who died unexpectedly at the age of 67. Their ninety-two-year-old mother was in the nursing home vegetating in a senile state when my wife told her about the death of her only son. Noting registered. So they debated whether to take her to the funeral or not. Would she get cold? Would it be any point? And they decided to. Entering a side door, along a ramp for the handicapped, we were surprised to be ushered directly into the funeral parlor in full view of the mourners. Instantly we saw in the faces of the family the value of her being there and we heard the audible gasp of surprise from our friends. For her, however, no sign of recognition let us know she was aware of her being at her son’s funeral, despite the flowers, open casket, organ music, and tears. Watching her closely, I detected a light of awareness in her eyes as the minister read the Scripture, gave the eulogy, and offered a homily. Then to close the service the pastor asked us to join in the recitation of the twenty-third Psalm, which was printed on the order of service. At the sound of the first words, “The Lord is my shepherd,” a strong and firm voice began to lead the congregation. It was Mama! Without missing a single word, she led us through the Psalm. Awe swept over us, as we realized that Mom’s lifetime of reading, memorizing, and quoting the Word of God, brought her back to reality and became her promise when her only son died. After the dismissal, we took Mom forward to the casket. Squinting to see his face, she asked, “Is this my boy?” Janet said, “Yes, it’s Eldon.” With full awareness now, Mom asked her next question, “Did he make it to heaven?” Again, Janet said, “Yes, he’s in heaven with Joyce and Daddy now.” With that word of assurance, Mom lapsed back into her fog of senility and rode home without another word. In her, we saw “trusting love” at work. God’s promise had been engraved on her heart and her soul, and even after she’d lost touch with reality and her mind was disintegrating, it came back to her in the evidence that God had answered her prayer and fulfilled His promise. Never again will I assume that spiritual communication stops when it appears as if the mind is gone. Despite the suffering of senility, a lifetime of love is holding Mom in communion with her Lord.

Isn’t that comforting to know? God engraves His promises on our hearts—forever. We can count on our relationships with Him enduring anything. And a lifetime of walking with Him will always keep us in communion with Him!
Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Friday, October 27, 2017

An Unlikely Response

Dear Friends,
Job, incredibly, does not declare war on God when disaster comes but rather responds in worship. That’s right—in worship! “The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were his to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, TLB). It may strike you as a little weird that someone could lose everything he owns, as well as all his children, and say, “Praise the Lord,” but we need to look a little bit closer to get the real impact of Job’s amazing response. His trouble is the same trouble that comes to all of us, the just and the unjust, because of that original sin in the Garden of Eden. Job had actually wondered why God had kept the inevitable results of the Fall from visiting him for so long! He had been waiting for the sky to fall on his head for a long time: “What I always feared has happened to me. I was not fat and lazy, yet trouble struck me down” (Job 3:25-26, TLB). 
Some commentators believe Job had lived at least seventy years in peace and tranquility up to this point. But even though he resided in a wild environment, among roving bands of cattle thieves and vagabonds, when trouble first came to Job, he did not ask why, but rather, why not—because he knew trouble was to be expected. He understood that the Lord may well give, or the Lord may well take away. In accepting this, Job found a measure of peace when trouble eventually came, and he refused to charge God with wrongdoing. He would not interpret this trouble as proof of a flaw in God’s perfect nature. He insisted that God is a holy God and has a perfect right to give or to withhold his blessing and protection. And so Job passed his first test with flying colors. 
Would you have come through with flying colors? Would you have charged God with wrongdoing?  Do you believe that God is in control over your suffering—not causing it—but sovereignly watching over it? Suffering gives us the opportunity to learn something new about God and ourselves. Pray that God will help you have the right response to your suffering like Job did.
Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Monday, October 2, 2017

Doing Something Positive with the Negatives

Dear Friends,
Along with four other women, Elisabeth waited by a shortwave radio for what must have seemed like an eternity, listening for a message from their husbands, who had taken a flight into hostile Indian territory. The young couples had been trying to reach the Auca Indians in Ecuador with the gospel. When no message was received, a search party was sent out after the men, and eventually the dreadful truth was discovered. The young missionaries were found lying facedown in the river, killed by the poisoned lances of the Indians. 
This terrible happening had not been on Elisabeth’s agenda! She and her husband, Jim, had been looking forward to a missionary career together. Now her whole world had crashed around her. 
Elisabeth discovered she had a choice. She could resign herself to the situation and return home with her young daughter, or she could ask the Lord, “In what redemptive way can you use this?”
Elisabeth chose to trust God to do something positive with the negatives. And she decided to be part of the action. She and her young daughter and Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) bravely set off into the jungle and found the tribe that had killed Nate and Jim. The women were well received and allowed to make their home among the Indians. After the Bible was translated and the gospel shared, many in the tribe turned to Christ. Later, Nate and Marge Saint’s daughter, Kathie, was baptized in the river where her daddy had died. Truly God used that particular situation in a redemptive way. God wants to buy up the opportunities that come our way as we learn to trust Him and to use trouble as a springboard for action. 
Trusting God brings a certain element of hope to our hearts—a confident expectation that all is not lost and that there is something redeemable in the most awful situation. This trust is a tenacious, spiritual insistence that God can be trusted not only to be totally and thoroughly aware of our dilemmas, but also to be in control and already taking eternal measures to work out His ultimate purposes.
“But,” you may ask, “what are we supposed to trust God to do for us?” To right the wrong? To reverse a disease? To bring our loved ones back from the dead or an unfaithful spouse home again? Sometimes God does the unbelievable, but other times He doesn’t. There are, however, certain things we can bank on Him doing. 

Dare to trust God that He can redeem any difficult circumstances in your life. He will.  

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine